The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency announced Sept. 3 that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will
provide almost $12 million to federal and state agencies to protect public
health by targeting harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie. The funding is
additional money that builds on current efforts to reduce algae blooms.
The problems reached critical
mass earlier this year, when the drinking water of Toledo, Ohio, and throughout
southeast Michigan was contaminated and could not be used even if boiled, adversely
affecting more than 500,000 people. The area draws its drinking water directly
from Lake Erie.
The new money will be used to
expand monitoring and forecasting, increase incentives to farmers to reduce
phosphorus runoffs that contribute to harmful algae
blooms, and improve measurements.
Harmful algae blooms also create
"dead zones” where no life can exist, harming the boating and fishing
industries and many shoreline economies.